Rio Ferdinand has praised Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney for his response to being dropped following the 0-0 draw against Chelsea on Monday.
Louis van Gaal dropped Rooney to the substitute’s bench for the game against Stoke City on Boxing day following a run of poor form.
He was reinstated into the starting XI for the clash against Chelsea at Old Trafford and the Man United captain put in an impressive display. Ferdinand believes Rooney wanted to prove a point after being dropped.
“There is no great cause for celebration at Manchester United just because they got a battling 0-0 draw at home to Chelsea. After all, their winless streak has been extended to eight games, which is clearly not good enough,” Ferdinand wrote in his column for The Sun.
“But with United fans scrambling around for positives, the performance of Wayne Rooney must have given them hope. Rooney’s display reminded us of the player who used to light up English football – a player we have seen too infrequently under manager Louis van Gaal.
“And I reckon being dropped for the previous game against Stoke was the best thing that could have happened to him. When you are dumped on the bench it is a huge blow to your pride, as I learned from my own personal experience in the latter days of my career.
“You re-evaluate all aspects of your life. You examine your social habits, attitude to the game, application in training, your mental approach, absolutely everything. And if you have anything about you, you make a vow that the manager can never again have a reason to leave you out of the team.
“Wayne will have been hurt and desperate to prove a point. Van Gaal may have taken the shackles off and allowed Rooney to go out and express himself. Either that or Wayne has thought “Sod it, I’ll play how I want to play”. Whatever it was, it worked.”
Rooney has been subpar for the majority of the campaign but his performance against Chelsea will give fans hope that he still has what it takes to succeed at the highest level.
The 30-year-old will be hopeful of keeping his place for the match against Swansea City next time out as United look to end their eight game winless streak in all competitions.